Authors: Aubrey Parker
My heart beats faster. Maybe Trevor is right after all, and I should leave while I still can.
Trevor says. “As if you were a virgin, waiting to be defiled.”
I’m not a virgin. I haven’t been a virgin for a long time. I’m not clean; I’m not pure; I never even had a chance to be daddy’s little girl. But Daniel was the first time I ever fucked a guy I’d just met, and I’ve been almost moderate since life has stabilized. Relatively speaking, I’m almost a nun in this place. Compared to the other girls (Kylie, who will ride anything that gives her a strategic advantage, and Jessica, who it turns out will suck the fidelity right off a guy if it means billions of dollars and the crown), I might as well be wearing a cast iron chastity belt. Ironically, everything Caspian has seen from me has happened during my cold spell. And everything they’ve told him about me, I guess, was taken from public house records.
That’s what I get, I guess. Successfully avoid the cameras for your dirty girl interludes, and you get on the radar of some sort of rich creep. Makes sense.
I get the impression that Daniel’s balls are in a vise over my still being here, so he seems to have made something up to justify it. There’s a bunch of people controlling this … well, this
… and now Daniel has manufactured some bullshit to make those people think he’s not ruining it all by having invited me in.
No, wait, Bridget is
to be here. Maybe she was brought here to hate fuck … and then fuck in a different way by making her think I cared before screwing her best friend. But now I see the truth. She’s special after all. Because while all the other girls are dripping at any given moment, Bridget’s unwillingness to participate is … um … because she’s EXCEPTIONALLY RESTRAINED. Like a superpower of discipline. Yeah. Yeah, that’s the ticket
But they’re wrong about me. I’m not virginal; I’m not sweet; I’m
restrained. I’m not meek. The irony is that if I try to leave at this point, I’ll be proving Daniel right.
See? Bridget was so virginal and restrained, she couldn’t even take the pressure. Now watch while I fuck Jessica in front of you all.
So I get dressed instead. I find a flattering, boob-enhancing white top and a red skirt that’s cut too high. I look like a sexy candy cane. Then I return to the dining hall, in time to catch Kylie taking bites of a bagel then spitting it into one of the trash cans. As a bonus, the subtle acrobatics required for eating and spitting are making her limp.
I wait until she’s distracted then march quickly in and body-check her into one of the tables with my hip. It goes even better than I’d hoped. I figured Kylie would hit the table and rebound, but instead she sort of flops over it, spilling the water glass on its top. This surprises her, and she grabs for something to steady herself, ending up with a handful of tablecloth. She then proceeds to slide halfway between the table’s legs, dragging the place setting down onto her body. Pity the setting hadn’t included tripe and a full bowl of scalding hot oatmeal.
I smirk, pass her as if I noticed nothing amiss, then grab a mug and fill it with coffee. I want a huge 20-ounce cup like I get at Starbucks, but they only have these small black ceramic things — a contemporary version of grandma’s fancy tea service, and you still have to keep one or two fingers out while drinking because the space around the handle isn’t big enough for a fist. I figure why not, and turn to Kylie with my pinky finger extended like a proper lady.
“Oh, now, what are you doing down there?” I ask.
Kylie’s face is red. Fuck her for still managing to look stunning. Anger sharpens her Eastern European features. Must be something in their culture. When
pissed off, I just look blotchy.
I watch Kylie struggle on her strangely traitorous legs, drinking coffee. She somehow avoided spilling the water onto herself, so she’s dry and merely entangled. I’m pretty sure that if Logan were here, he’d already be climbing up behind her like a monkey with a boner, capitalizing on a woman found down but not out.
“Figured you’d be gone by now,” she says. “I guess you really don’t have any self-respect.”
“I can’t go yet. I have a message for Caspian White.”
She doesn’t respond; she just keeps glaring as she comes to her knees. It’s an empty threat. With Kat out of the picture, it’s my third-hand word against everyone. Jessica will obviously back Kylie up, saying she never heard any such story and that I must be making it up. Whatever proof I might hope to find I’m sure Kylie has erased or reframed. Shifted evidence probably now indicts me. But none of that matters. Kylie is on the floor while I’m standing. She looks stupid, and I look hot. Everything else feels momentarily inconsequential.
Then Kylie’s lip curls up, and she says, “You really don’t want your mommy safe, do you, you pathetic fucking little orphan?”
“Watch out for that water,” I tell her.
Kylie’s eyes follow my finger. Then I take a water glass from another table and toss the liquid at her knees and clattering heels. I don’t even have to wait for her to try standing before collecting my prize. She slips and wets her entire front as her torso strikes the floor.
Jesus. She really does have problems.
I take my coffee and walk past her, heading back the way I came. I let my hips swivel as I go. I put my left hand under the little coffee cup like a flesh saucer, just because it feels proper. The virgin has her manners, after all.
I’m about to turn from the main hall when I almost literally run into Jessica. I stop myself in time to keep my coffee from spilling, but it’s a near-miss. Then I wonder if I’m still off center enough to just throw the shit in her face. Will it burn and disfigure her? No, it’s probably not hot enough. I’d need to knock her down and use my knee to bash her teeth out of her jaw.
But instead of indulging the fantasies that leap into my mind — the kind that were my bread and butter while living in foster care, scrapping to survive — I stop, frozen still like a dummy. Jessica is all subtle curves and shining brown hair. Her eyes are the light green of a deep ocean. She has that perfect little nose, that sweet little spray of freckles across it. Her lips are fuller than mine without being too full. Her boobs are bigger and better. I want to shout at Jessica but can’t summon the anger. All I can think as I stand awkwardly in front of her is that I’m woefully inadequate.
“Bridget,” she says. “I’m … ”
I firm my lips. It was just sex, right?
“You sure are,” I interrupt, unable to bar the venom from my voice.
“Look. You don’t … ” She stops, then starts again. “There’s stuff that Daniel and I needed to do that you couldn’t know about, for your own good.”
“And Kat? What did you do for Kat’s ‘own good,’ other than spilling the secret she told us in confidence and asked us never to tell?”
Jessica says nothing. So it’s all true. She’s not even protesting.
“What’s up, Jess? You don’t even want to insult me by denying it?”
She opens her mouth. I see the same hesitation that stopped her before, and then those lips — so much plumper than mine — close. Her eyes flicker as if trying to decide on her words, from the billions of things she could say. It’s strange to see. Jessica has always been a chatterbox. The fact that she can’t say more than a few words to me now reveals more of her traitorous side — maybe the
The worst part is that she’s ruining something for me that I should have known better than to expect. I came here anticipating the worst sorts of people, but Jessica and Kat — and Erin, before her elimination — made me believe.
There really are people in the world I can rely on
. But I was right in the beginning: every girl in this world is out for herself.
“How many times did you go into that secret room with him, Jess?”
“I don’t know.”
“He’s using you, you know. Like he used me.”
“Look, Bridget … ”
“Oh, but of course. You’re just screwing him, is all. And you’re getting something out of this, too. You’re using him as much as he’s using you, so it works out.” I look back over my shoulder, where I hear something break. I’m hoping for a swag bag, when I leave this place, that includes
surveillance footage from the dining room right now. They’ll to need to bring in a hoist to get Kylie back up on her heels. And I’ll bet Logan walks through and beats off on her at least once before that happens. “But good luck taking Kylie down without Kat’s help. Maybe you played me, and maybe you played Kat. But Kylie is going to play you even harder.
going to take first place now, and the best you’ll do is second, same as before. You’ll end up right where you were. The only difference is that now you’ve shown them who you really are.”
She looks hurt, absorbing my barbs. Good. Guilt is grist for the soul.
“It’s not like that,” she says.
“It’s not? Then tell me, Jess. Tell me how it is.”
Her beautiful, conflicted eyes flick away.
“Come on. Explain. Tell me how Kat’s secret leaked to Kylie at the same time as one of my secrets — something even you didn’t know. Something only Daniel could know. Tell me how this is just a big misunderstanding. You were sneaking off with Daniel to play checkers. And the two of you, while definitely
fucking each other dry, just sit around talking about how pretty I am, and how much you like me.”
I stop. Jessica still won’t look at me. Finally, she does, and her eyes are slightly wet.
“I didn’t want to hurt you,” she says.
“Then I guess you didn’t use that memory of yours to remember how to not be a cunt. Because you’re doing it wrong.”
She reaches for my arm. In a second I see that hand on Daniel’s unshaven cheek. I see it running across his muscular chest. I see those long fingers wrapped around his manhood, giving him pleasure. It’s all I can do not to hit her. But doing so would be a regression. I’m no longer the damaged little girl. I’m an adult, and don’t need to fight. I don’t need the shell Daniel talked about, that he brought me here to break. Because it broke.
But I won’t give Jessica the satisfaction of forgiving even one tiny little thing she’s done. She’s acting deeply sorry, but I’m not hearing any protests. I’d almost welcome the comfort of lies. This blank guilt reaches through my chest and grips my heart. But
Fuck her so very much.
She sniffs. She turns away.
“You’re not even going to tell me you’re sorry,” I say.
“You need to talk to Daniel.”
“I don’t think I ever need to talk to Daniel again.”
“He’s up in his office.”
“Yes, right now.”
“How can you be positive?”
“I was just up there.”
“Then there’s no reason for me to go. He’ll need at least a half hour before he can get hard again.”
I’m baiting her. I don’t know why I don’t just walk away. I feel like I’m holding a club, and keep hitting myself no matter how much I want to stop. I hear Brandon in my head:
You seek self-destruction.
Softer I say, “If it’s not what I think, what is it?”
“Talk to Daniel.”
“I’m talking to
. You want to stab me in the back? You want to stab
in the back? You want to hook up with Daniel over and over, the two of you probably laughing at Stupid Little Bridget the entire time? Then at least look me in the eye and tell me why. What did I do to you, Jess?”
I’ve gone from baiting her to opening the door. Why am I still talking? Am I really so fucked up that I’ll turn on a dime the minute she tells me something I want to hear? Do I need approval so badly that if she pretends to explain, I’ll let her fill the air with her lies? But it’s not the same with Jessica as it was with Kylie. I loathe Kylie and always have. Jessica, I let into my heart.
“Tell me you didn’t snitch on Kat, and I’ll try to believe you.” I think but don’t add, hating myself for it:
to believe you
Jessica presses her lips together. She looks into the corner. I see her blink. She wipes at her face, smearing mascara.
“Tell me you didn’t have sex with Daniel,” I say, “and I’ll try to believe you.”
“Talk to him,” she says weakly. “Please, Bridget. Just go talk to Daniel.”
“I’m talking to you,” I repeat.
And I wait.
And I wait, hating what it says about me that I’m so eager for lies.
“Then buckle up,” I say, “because now you don’t just have to worry about losing to Kylie.”
Jessica sniffs. A dark tear cuts down her cheek.
“I’m going to do everything I can to win this thing,” I tell her, “and God help you if you get in my way.”
“He wants you there.”
I turn. Trevor is standing behind me. I can’t stop staring at the dark screen, where moments ago I was talking to the board. They’re insane. They’re impossible. They don’t see what’s right in front of their faces, and they demand the absurd.